Monday, September 21, 2020

THE TEMPEST (Sofa Shakespeare)*****


By Megan


Available until: Unknown

This is my first ever Sofa Shakespeare production but it won’t be my last because this was really good! It’s a really clever idea. Anyone can sign up to be in it and I think they give you part of the text and you can perform it any way you like then it’s all edited together into one play.

It is difficult sometimes to know who the characters are because it doesn’t always say but I don’t think that matters because you can just enjoy each scene on its own.

There are over 100 people in the production and they had so many ideas. Lots of people use toys to act out their scene. There are cuddly toys, Lego toys, dolls and plastic figures. There is even a scene where the characters were played by vegetables with faces! It is all really imaginative.

The cuddly toys are really impressive. There is one section with puppets where Miranda is a crocodile and I think Caliban is a lamb. I think this is a really interesting way of performing this scene because Caliban is the one who is seen as a monster but when Miranda has lots of big teeth and Caliban looks soft and fluffy the scene seems very different. There’s also a gorgeous monkey who plays Alonso.

Lots of pets appear in it too. Mostly cats and dogs but there are some birds too. They all act really well. There’s one cat called Pros-purr-o who has a really intense stare which is just right for Prospero. Purr-anda has trouble looking at him, he is so scary. Another Prospero is a toy and he really glares at the dog and cat playing Ferdinand and Miranda. There is also a funny bit where Sebastian says “What a strange drowsiness possesses them” and a cat does a really big yawn!

There are lots of human actors too and they are really inventive with their costumes. Some of them look really Shakespearean and some wore modern clothes but it all works really well and everything they think of is right for the character even though they are all very different. It shows that some of the things that happen in Shakespeare could still happen today.

Quite a few of the actors wear masks. Some are normal masks like we wear every day and some are scary masks. Some actors have done their hair (there’s an Ariel with green hair like leaves) and make-up in a really complicated way and it looks beautiful. A lot of people have to make their own facial hair and they do it in lots of different ways. I think one of the Stephanos has my favourite moustache, it’s really curly. Other actors use face filters, one turns themselves into an owl and it looks really brilliant. The actors also use their voice in different ways, there is a Prospero who says his lines in different voices like a movie trailer announcer and a helpful honda person and lots of others and it’s really clever.

Some of the actors are really young. There is one scene with a face made of food which is animated and a really sweet little toddler is eating the food. There is also a lovely family all dressed up with two children holding hands and another child who goes wandering off which is what my sister Alba always does when the grown-ups are being boring!

Lots of the actors take advantage of being allowed out (for the moment anyway) and they go to different places like beaches and woods. One Prospero even goes paddling! I think that is very brave. I think my feet would freeze off if I tried that where I live. The places the actors film in are very beautiful. I hope soon we will have a vaccine so I can go and visit lots of beautiful new places. There is a Caliban with a green face and braids who is in a wood, he’s really good and there is an Ariel with big wings and it sounds like they’re in a real thunderstorm, it looks scary but it’s brilliant.

There are some really nice indoor sets too. There’s one lovely room with a piano and a different scene with a turquoise wall which is really beautiful. When I grow up I would like turquoise walls too. There is also a funny scene where two of the characters sit down and have a cup of tea.

It is lovely hearing Shakespeare’s lines spoken in so many different accents. They even have some parts in different languages. I love languages but I don’t understand very many yet.

There are some actors I recognise. Emily Carding plays Prospero in one scene and I was thinking I hope she plays Prospero for The Show Must Go Online because she is so good. But then I saw Danielle Farrow playing Prospero and she is really good too so now I want both of them to play Prospero! It was a really lovely surprise to see them. I also recognised some other names in the cast list like Julie Baber, Julie Martis and Eugenia Low and I feel bad for not recognising them but now I can watch it all again and see if I can find them. I remember them from TSMGO and they are really good.

It’s really fun but the actors aren’t just messing around. They all really really love Shakespeare (some of them are obviously very experienced professionals but I don’t think you have to have experience to be in it) and even when they’re creating a comedy scene they have lots of respect and love for Shakespeare and they try their very hardest to make the scene as good as possible. There really wasn’t one single scene which I thought wasn’t good, they all have something really special and interesting and I really feel like the actors had as much fun performing it as I did watching it.

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